3 must have silk fabrics for making flowers and MORE

taster fabric packSHOP OUR RANGE OF PROFESSIONAL  FABRICS FOR FLOWER MAKING HERE 

One of the evergreen questions I get to hear is about what fabrics for making flowers are considered the best and should be used.

I must admit navigating in the sea of fabrics can be very daunting especially if you are quite new to the art of flower making. What exactly is satin and do you really need pure silk? Questions, questions, questions…
In short, flowers can probably be made with any fabric, but the end result will differ. If you wish to make detailed realistic delicate flowers you will need to choose certain fabrics that have proven to work well for couture flowers.
Here I present my short guide to the 3 must have fabrics you’ll require when you start making flowers. These 3 fabrics are a good starting point for the beginner.  Once you have become  more experienced and confident you will be able to expand the list of fabrics that can be used in flower making (we’ll talk about some other fabrics during the next weeks).
Before I start, let’s clarify the difference between a fabric and a finish. Fabrics are cotton, silk, linen, rayon or polyester, to name a few. Finishes are terms like crepe, taffeta, and satin. That said, “satin” does not mean silk fabric as satin can be made out of polyester, rayon or other fibers. Not all of the fabrics will be equally good for our purpose.
Silk Crepe de Chine
is light and fine plain woven dress fabric. Crepe de Chine  has a slightly crepe character, a feature produced by the use of weft, or filling, yarns spun with the twist running in reverse directions.
This fabric is great for us for several reasons:

 ~ it is very forgiving, pliable, pleasant and easy to work with

~ it frays very very little if at all which makes it suitable for small and large flowers

~ it has no right or wrong side which works well for some designs

I would strongly recommend using this type of fabric for flower petals. It dyes well too.
I have a tutorial on SILK CLOVER that demonstrate how to work with Crepe de Chine, which is perfect for this small flower.

 

Very unusual humble flower of clover is perfect for summer flower crowns and hat trims. Fiddly to make out of fabric but well worth the effort for that special project you have in mind.

 

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FABRIC CLOVER TUTORIAL

 

 


Silk Satin

When we think of silk, the texture we usually visualise is satin.This fabric is formed with a satin weave and can be made out of various fibers including silk, nylon, or polyester. It is smooth and soft to the touch, and usually quite lightweight. Satin has a subtle sheen, meaning it will catch and reflect the light.
This fabric is your first choice when making fabric leaves. It allows to imitate the glossy smooth surface of real foliage.
But it will make beautiful rose petals too (as well as any other petals). So experiment with it and try using it for both: fabric leaves and fabric petals.
Unlike crepe, satin fabric has the right (shiny) side and wrong (matte, crepe-like) side to it.
Silk satin is a popular fabric with flower makers and customers alike so I have prepared a number of tutorials that use satin.
 This video tutorial on silk camellias is marked “Intermediate” but will be perfectly suitable for beginners. Learn to cut flower parts, paint them with silk colours, shape with millinery tools and assemble into one of a kind floral jewellery or hairpieces.
 LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CAMELLIA FLOWER VIDEO TUTORIAL

A more complicated video tutorial on a large English rose hair comb is recommended for the flower makers with some experience. Satin silk can be used for both the petals and the foliage.
 LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ENGLISH ROSE VIDEO TUTORIAL

Concise and easy to follow photo tutorial on silk leaves shows how to back leaves with a layer of thin silk and shape them with millinery tools to achieve a realistic look. You also get several leaf templates. 
 LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FABRIC LEAVES PHOTO TUTORIAL

 

Silk pongee

is a plain woven thin fabric. It is also known as China silk or Habutai (Habotai). The fabric is lighter in weight than other silks. Quite often it is used for lightweight scarves.

In flower making pongee is a secret agent. That is it’s not really seen but often plays a vital role in creating silk floral designs. It is widely used for backing leaves and petals as well as wrapping stems of flowers with silk. It can also be used for small filling petals in large roses, peonies or other fairly large multipetal flowers.
I also use it for a number of jobs in leather flower making. Definitely a must have fabric for your stash.
 The fabrics I have listed above are just few out of a whole range of different fabrics that can be used for making flowers.
But they are great to begin with. I would recommend you should obtain pure silk fabrics for the following reasons:

❀ they are easy to work with and will provide a predictable result
❀ they dye easily and beautifully
❀ they will take the heat of a flower iron and tools well
Best places to purchase these silks are online batik and art shops. If you google them in your area you will be able to find local suppliers.If you are a UK based maker, please feel free to contact me if you need any assistance finding shops to bgolden backing fabricuy these silks, I will be happy to help.

There are a lot of other fabrics to talk about with regards to flower making. We discuss them in detail in our newsletter. Stay tuned! If you have not yet, feel free to join the list below.

Some professional prestiffened fabrics for flower making are available in our online shop.

Currently we are offering the following professional fabrics for you to try and fall in love with with:

➡ FABRIC TASTER PACK 

➡ GOLDEN, SILVER or PEARL LAME SATIN

➡ RAYON ORGANZA FABRIC

➡ THIN RAYON BACKING FABRIC

➡ RAYON SATIN FABRIC

➡ GOLDEN, SILVER or PEARL BACKING FABRIC

➡ WHITE or BLACK COTTON VELVET FABRIC

Should you require any specialist fabrics for your project, feel free to get in touch with us at enquiries@presentperfectcreations.com to place a custom order.

 

glue for making flowers

Choosing the right glue for making flowers

To glue or not to glue? Let’s talk about choosing the right glue for making flowers

glue for making flowers

 

You can now buy the glue that has been specifically developed for making flowers. To find out more about this glue click here 

 

I receive a lot of emails with questions on different aspects of flower making. One of such burning questions is about choosing the right glue for making flowers with either fabric or leather.
I am not sure if I have mentioned this, but Japan is the country where the craft of making artificial flowers has truly blossomed into a real art. Therefore, there are all sorts of supplies available to those who decide to take it up ranging from various industrially prestiffened fabrics to special dyes and brushes, wires, stamens etc. etc. not to mention the oh-so-important glue.

choosing the right glue for making flowers Whilst it is easy and enjoyable to work with authentic materials, it is not always achievable. None of us live in Japan so we must find a replacement that we could purchase in our own country if we want to make good quality fabric flowers.
I live and work in Britain but I will try to offer alternatives that are going to be widely available (hopefully) as well as explain to you what you should look for.
In case if you were wondering I only work with PVA white glue. I never use any superglue or a hot glue gun in my works, although I know that other artists do use them. For the flowers made using the principles of the Japanese school 2 types of PVA glue are recommended. They are called soft and hard.
Soft glue is slightly less thick and takes longer to dry. It is used for gluing parts onto the backing allowing us enough tine to do that.
Hard glue is used for assembling jobs. You will particularly appreciate it when assembling large multipetal roses. Although very tacky and quick drying it still gives us time to reposition petals if we are not entirely satisfied with the way they have been assembled.

choosing the right glue for making flowers

 

 

Otherwise, you can get this best replacement for the Japanese hard glue that I have found, SOBO glue available on Amazon.
It is really thick and can is ideal for assembling flowers. It dries quickly and becomes clear once dry.

 

 

choosing the right glue for making flowers

As for the soft PVA glue there are several options available. For those of you who are in the UK, I would recommend to check out the tacky PVA glue from Hobbycraft (click here to go to their website)
Another option is PVA based fabric or wood glues which can also be used in flower making.
Also, have a look at this trial pack of tacky fabric glues by Aleene’s which look very promising.

By all means remember that both soft and hard glues are very thick and steer clear from stationary PVA glue that is meant to glue paper and card. Those are usually too runny for the job we do and can be very messy to work with.
I hope you have found this article useful and it will help you choose the right glue to work with.

Should you wish to receive answers to your questions, more in-depth information on how to make flowers out of fabric and leather as well as get discounts on our pdf and video tutorials please feel free to sign up for our updates here

One wedding, three creations

Last week we went to a wedding, my husband’s niece was getting married.
To prove the well-known proverb “The shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot” wrong, I decided to create a cocktail hat for myself (for once! :-D) to wear at the wedding. It gave me a chance to try my new hat block, a mini beret. I covered the base with a beautiful quilted dupioni silk and decorated with a spray of rumbling roses in purple. 

Floral cocktail hat

The flowers have as always been painted shaped and assembled by hand. That’s me wearing it at the wedding ☺

For Alex I have created a calla lily boutonniere in matching colours of lemony lime yellow. I used the template which I obtained from calla lillies growing in my garden. I like their sleek and elegant look!
Here is my husband wearing the calla lily buttonhole created using specialised Japanese fabrics.

I have thought long and hard about what I should create for my little girl and decided that a pair of edelweiss hair clips would be perfect. Made of specialist Japanese fabrics and lined and wired they proved to be rather hardwearing even in the paws of curious 11 month old                                                                                  

I can sense a whole line of accessories for little ones shaping up in my brain. Keep your eyes peeled to my blog and Facebook page!

And that’s mummy and daughter in the church

fabric dyes

About fabric dyes I use to colour my flowers

Often I am asked what sort of dyes I use to colour fabrics for my pieces. And it is a very relevant question as not any fabric dyes could be used for our purposes. To start with I can say that acrylic fabric dyes are not suitable for a number of reasons. First, they are quite thick, they coat the fabric rather than just penetrate it thus changing the texture of it and they also stick to the millinery tools when we shape petals or leaves.
The right dyes to use when making silk flowers are so called aniline dyes, synthetic dyes that come in either liquid or powder form.
I started with these Russian made aniline dyes, which come in 11 rather strange completely artificial colours. They need careful mixing before one can come up with a suitable delicate colour to use on flowers.

The advantage of any aniline dyes is that they are completely intermixable and diluted with water. The disadvantage is there is no white in the palette so the only way to create a tint is to add more water which sometimes does not give the desirable result.

I could not keep ordering liquid dyes from Russia, so I was on a hunt for local, British made aniline dyes. And at a craft exhibition in Birmingham I came across a stand with lots of different dyes, including the ones in the photo below:

It does not say anywhere on them what sort of dyes they are but they are just what the doctor ordered! And yes, these are dry powdered dyes. They last for ages, really economical but probably slightly more difficult to use than the liquid ones. The palette has 20+ colours, I just have 10 here, but mainly use Golden Yellow, Turquoise, Scarlet, Olive Green, Leaf Green and Green Lemon. Again, all intermixable and diluted with just water.

Another set of dyes I have come from Japan. They are liquid and come in little bottles with a pipette on top for measuring drops. They are called drop dyes.

The drop dyes allow to recreate a complex colour every time you want to do it which is not really possible with powder dyes. All you need to do is to measure a certain about of water into a container and add a certain amount of 1-2-3-4 or how many required dyes into it. The amount of dyes is measured simply with drops. In some Japanese books on silk flower making there are charts which tell you how to mix dyes to get the particular colour for the flowers shown.
These dyes are the most expensive of all and unfortunately do not last that long, that is finish quite quickly.
The brushes you see in the picture come from Japan as well. They are designed to paint fabric flowers and are made of deer fur.

Although Japanese artists use little white plastic dishes to prepare colours for dyeing fabrics, I discovered that small portion sized jam jars work pretty well for me. Not only they are big enough, but also if any dye is left you can always cover the jar with a lid and save the precious dye from evaporating!

And lastly, as with any chemicals, one has to take precautions using aniline dyes. Please do not swallow or inhale the dry particles when working with them. Common sense above all!

Explore these tutorials to learn more about colouring fabrics for making fabric flowers

Silk dandelion tutorial

 

 

<<<<<<<<  SILK DANDELION CLOCK TUTORIAL 

 

 

 

 

SILK SWEET PEA TUTORIAL >>>>>>>>>>  

 

fabric clover flower corsage

 

 

 

<<<<<<<<<<<<<FABRIC CLOVER TUTORIAL

NATURALS – summer collection by PresentPerfect Creations

As a huge fan of natural fibers, I am drawn to unusual natural fabrics with which I like to experiment. Flowers made of silk are gorgeous, stunning, luxurious, but in most cases are meant for special occasions, weddings and similar events. But what if I want to wear a fabric flower brooch or a hair accessory on an ordinary day with my normal clothes and not an evening gown? I think the importance of casual accessories made of fabric using millinery tools is underestimated. I know for a fact that casual corsages are very popular in Japan. Made of all sorts of fabric they are meant to spice up everyday outfits. Here are some pictures of such corsages by Noriko Endo, the Japanese artist

The idea of casual floral accessories combined with unusual natural materials (unusual in the traditional silk flower making that is ) has resulted in my capsule summer collection which I called NATURALS.

Linen and wild silk rose brooch

The main concept is simple and straightforward: I use undyed textural  fabrics of natural origin to make interesting pieces ideal for everyday wear that would perfectly complement a summer wardrobe.

Linen poppy corsage

Together with linens, wild tussah silks, cottons etc. I used genuine leather in natural tones to make several rose brooches.

Open leather and suede rose
Small rose pin

Apart form brooches and corsages the collection has a number of  floral hair accessories in it too, like this wild tussah silk orchid hair comb

Eco fashion wild silk orchid hair comb

At the moment this capsule collection comprises of a small number of pieces which are selling fast but I am planning to add more to it as the warm summer days are still with us.

Bluebells

Another inspiration from one the Japanese flower making tutorials is this stem of fantasy bluebells. I made them in intense blue, but would like to recreate in white and soft pink later on. I think they will look very nice in a bridal or a flower girl’s head wreath when made in white (or even pink!). Here is the original piece I made:

silk bluebells, artificial flowers, faux flowers, handmade flowers
silk bluebells, artificial flowers, faux flowers, handmade flowers
And how do you see these bluebells? Maybe as a little corsage? Or…? Please let me know ☺
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Wedding corsages&buttonholes

Albeit a bit late, I would like to share some pictures of the roses buttonholes&corsages I have made for me and Alex to wear on the wedding day of our relatives last Sunday. The small rose buds are made in the Japanese technique and hand painted to match our outfits for the day
So the pinky-browny-cafe one was for me and the more conventional pink-and-green was for Alex. Here they are with our outfits (and us)

And I think they looked lovely))